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The long-term proposals are centred around leader Xi Jinping’s goal to “basically achieve socialist modernisation”. They include moving away from a policy of economic growth at all costs, cutting carbon emissions and achieving self-sufficiency in technology and science.
China is a country that keeps its words
The Central Committee, the largest of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) top decision-making bodies, has now concluded its plenum.
The talks were held as large parts of the world struggle to contain a second wave of the coronavirus which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last December.
Details from the meeting are scarce but officials released a memo stating China would “promote Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and peaceful cross-straits development”.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be brought back under its sovereignty by force, if necessary.
It has already stepped up military activity in the Taiwan Strait and has reacted with fury at proposed arms deals between Taiwan and the US.
The memo said China would also maintain the “long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau”.
The CCP leaders also discussed way’s of defusing China’s “demographic time-bomb”.
China is facing a crisis as its elderly population is increasing while its workforce is dwindling, partly due to the now-discredited one-child policy that was in place for around four decades.
The party decided in a previous plenum in 2015 to ditch that policy and has now vowed to implement strategies to address the ageing population although gave no further details.
The policies agreed behind closed doors by the tiny cohort of leaders will shape the day-to-day lives of 1.3 billion people when a fresh five-year plan is rubber-stamped at a full National People’s Congress meeting next year.
And Xi will use the absolute powers he has spent the last eight years shoring up to ensure his vision is implemented by an authoritarian system that does not tolerate dissent or opposition.
Since becoming leader in 2012, he has made constitutional changes which have cleared the way for him to rule for life – legal barriers to a two-term presidency were removed by Xi in 2018 and he is widely expected to assume the title Chairman when his current term ends.
He has also crushed any potential challenges from within the CCP with an “anti-corruption” campaign that runs until 2022 when his second term as General Secretary and head of the military is due to end.
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Chinese state media defends the legitimacy of Beijing’s authoritarian regime by suggesting regular changes in leadership causes political instability and points citizens to next week’s US elections as an example.
State news agency Xinhua said: “China is a country that keeps its words.
“Once the five-year plan is finalised, the country – from the central government to local governments – will ensure its implementation.”
David Bandurski, a China politics expert at the University of Hong Kong, told CNN such efforts were less about “goals met and goals set, but more essentially about renewing the CCP’s claims to the legitimacy of its power, its system and its methods”.
The final blueprint will be approved and published when the National People’s Congress, or parliament, meets in its annual session next year.
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